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Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Americans 3.3: End Justifies the Means

The Americans, as of its third episode of its third season, has not yet established a compelling centerpiece story.   Instead, it has given us individually and appealing threads and story lines.  But I'm wondering how long it will be before we get a central story as strong as what we saw in the first two seasons, when we were first getting to know Elizabeth and Philip and their struggles to be both spies and family.

Among the most memorable bits from last night, though -
  • Elizabeth training a new recruit, who's smitten by her.  She likes him, too, even though she puts a break on it.  Will be interesting to see where this goes.  Philip seems to be taking this pretty much in stride, for now, in a scene in which we see Elizabeth naked from behind - I guess you could call that conversation an example of the end justifying the means, literally and figuratively.
  • Elizabeth and Philip have a very close call in their evasion of Fed agents, including Stan, who seem to be getting closer and closer to nabbing our anti-heroes.   In what was probably the best scene of the episode, Philip rolls out of a moving car, and the Soviets send in some interference to help Elizabeth get away from the U.S. agents.  It was a scene that could have been in a top-draw espionage move.
  • In another good scene with Elizabeth and Philip, he extracts - with a wrench - two teeth that have been causing Elizabeth lots of pain.   In a weird way, there's almost an erotic overtone in this scene, as she opens her mouth wide.  This typifies the mixture of pain and pleasure which is their lives.
  • The closest to a central continuing story continues to be Paige, and the brewing tension over when - and whether - she will be brought into the business.   Philip is strongly against this, and Elizabeth will probably move closer to Philip's position, too - but that will put both of them in conflict with their Soviet bosses.
There's been much less, so far, from inside the Soviet embassy this season.   And we've yet to see Stan involved in a crucial story, as he was last year with Nina.  Let's get moving.  When it comes to television, time's winged chariot is always hurrying near.

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